Archives for posts with tag: a very human experience

So human.

This morning, I wrote, as I do, but to a dear friend, only. It met my own needs, and I considered no others this morning. Huh. Still human.

The other day, I got poked by a rose thorn, but thought nothing of it; roses have thorns, it’s a thing people know about. Today I am fussy and irritated by the discomfort of the thorn still lodged in the pad of my index finger, rather inconveniently precisely where my finger strikes the keys of my keyboard. I don’t actually do anything about the thorn, I just bitch about the discomfort. Still human.

I read the news, get caught up, feel annoyed with myself for wasting precious limited lifetime on media bullshit, again, knowing it messes with my head for hours, sometimes days. I sometimes do it anyway, even to the point of reading and rereading the same news, covered the same way, by nearly identical media outlets, multiple times…until I finally notice I’m learning nothing new, and don’t even actually care. Still human.

I make a cup of chamomile tea to enjoy as the evening winds down, and can’t quite enjoy it, either because it is still too hot to drink, or perhaps because now I don’t understand why I didn’t make coffee, which I’ve already had more than enough of today…but I don’t know which, and don’t move to change anything. Still human.

I distract myself from all of these things with thoughts of love, and loving, and feeling grateful to be so well-loved, and so thoroughly accepted – and then distract myself again with my disappointed recollection that my Traveling Partner still has not made it over to see my new place once… Which… well, he’s hundreds of miles away, and has only been within an hour’s driving time of this address for about 24 hours in the past 5 (6?) weeks, so it’s not really a realistic expectation. Still disappointed. Still human.

It’s a life. My life. It’s not the life I had 7 years ago. Hell, it’s not the life I had 3 years ago. It’s a pretty good life. I’m content – and this is true nearly all of my time, even moment-to-moment, generally. That’s… yeah, so much beyond what I could have hoped for a decade ago. Sure, it’s taken awhile, and I’m still so very human. Still have ups that are too far up. Still have downs that are scary far down. Still have many moments and emotions in between the extremes. It’s a life. My life. I’m very human.

Just one moment of many

Tomorrow, I’ll begin again.

I woke rested this morning. I slept in. I opened my eyes slowly, thinking about love. My dreams were precious and lovely, sweet, and emotional. Tears slid down my face, not bad tears, just memories and perspective. I woke smiling. I remind myself that my emotions are not madness, nor are they a mistake. I feel. I am human.

I make coffee, and put on the stereo. I shuffled my playlist with great care recently (I occasionally do) and the song I start my mornings with is pretty close to being… a hymn. There just doesn’t happen to be a church involved. It’s just a beautiful song, and a reminder to self to be the best person I know how to be, as I start the day. It’s Saturday. I start the day with music and a smile.

Life isn’t perfect, for me either. All the practicing, all the growth, every moment of contentment reached, every moment of joy, and each new “level” unlocked, it’s still a very human experience. I struggle with my weight. I struggle not to take things personally in life. I struggle to love the woman in the mirror and the people all around me. I endure pain. I also learn and grow and love. It’s a very mixed experience, and very human. I practice. I fail. I begin again. I find myself, sometime further down the road, changed – and generally for the better (with all  the practicing of practices that nurture and support growth and change). Clinging to expectations of this or that, or some very specific standard of beauty, success, intellect or achievement is a set up for heartbreak and failure on this whole other level, in comparison to letting go of attachment to the outcome, and simply doing and being the best of the human being I am able to be.

Anyway. I’m just saying… there’s some falling down. I follow it with getting back up. The journey is mine. The destination is mine. The goals are mine. It’s not about money for me. It’s about great art, great love, and being a genuine, kind, compassionate, reasoning human being capable of managing the intensity of deep emotion with wisdom and graciousness. It’s about healing ancient pain, and embracing love right now. The success, while also mine, gets results that benefit all of us. When we are our best selves, the entire world is transformed by it.

Emotion and reason. Practice. Begin again. Be the change you wish to see in yourself. You are enough. ❤

This morning I woke to a welcome cloudy sky, a cool morning, and an already prepared ‘to do’ list for today. Generally that’s a comfortably pleasant experience.

A cotton candy sky ends a lovely day.

Yesterday’s cotton candy sky ends a lovely day.

This morning… I am at odds with myself, in the sense that my list and my calendar reflect a purposeful nature I’m not feeling [at the moment]. It frustrates and annoys me [before the day even properly begins]; there’s certainly nothing on my list for today that needs to be handled before 8 am. Nothing on my calendar begins before 9. I just don’t want to. I. Don’t. Want. To. I’m in no mood to adult today, thanks… only… am I not? Really? Or is it more than I’m not yet really awake, haven’t had my coffee, haven’t ‘figured me out’… and so, don’t really know what the ideal ‘order of operations’ could be… or… something? If I allow myself to accept the premise that I don’t want to adult today – will I lose the opportunity to handle my agenda skillfully, and take care of myself well? How do I best take care of me, and meet my needs over time?

Beginnings

Beginnings aren’t always easy. My results vary.

Yesterday, when I left the house for my planned activities, I felt purposeful and calm. When I later went to an interview, I felt eager, and a little anxious. When I returned home, I felt accomplished, productive, and ready to be at leisure for the day. I made my list then, while the things I’d need to do today were in my thoughts and fairly organized. It felt good. Natural. Comfortable. The list made sense. This morning, I haven’t even actually reviewed my list – it is still so early that there is no point (nothing on that list needs to be started before 8 am, and some of the things on that list can’t be started before 9 am); I’m not even awake yet. The awareness of the existence of the list is enough to find my consciousness shying away from all responsibility entirely – for the day. Wow. That’s clearly an over-reaction. 🙂 I am pretty sure I can safely adult more than that. lol I’ll get to it. Coffee first. 🙂

Most of my days begin with coffee.

Most of my days begin with coffee. Your routine may vary. 🙂

Dueling elements of my nature keep me pre-occupied this morning. I was over taken by artistic inspiration late yesterday afternoon (after my interview) and the idea lingers in my thoughts, stealing my focus from anything less emotionally engaging. The excitement of feeling so inspired competes with the subtle tension of maintaining professional readiness of another sort, in the background, alert for call backs, interviews, calendared events relevant to job searching…and that inner conflict erupted late last evening as yet another wave of inspiration. Ideas colliding with notions, competing for attention with practical matters… all facing off with the awareness of a sort of alternate reality within reach, made up of favorite cartoons, YouTube content, and hours hanging out with friends – in lieu of all that other practical ‘adult’ stuff.  Right now? This morning? First things first – I’ve got to sort out who I am, where I’m going, what my needs are, how my goals fit in with those, how my opportunities and choices are affected by my values… and what I want to be when I grow up. Right after that? Everything else.

That's a lot of details to sort out in one morning...

That’s a lot of details to sort out in one morning…

It’s not going to be that easy, today, is it? 😉 (Hint: mostly none of it is, in a practical sense, approximately ever that easy.) I’m so fucking glad I no longer put the full weight of solving every damned thing on my shoulders each day! It’s too much to carry, long-term.

It's okay to put some of that down, for now.

It’s okay to put some of that down, for now.

I sip my coffee. Listen to bird song. I commit to being; it’s an excellent starting point for most things. 🙂 I think over conversations and connections lingering in my memory, most from very recent days. I take time to savor the insights and understandings I’ve gained. I consider meaning, context, value – and realize that now, instead of being caught up in all things future (goals, plans, lists of tasks) I am now tangled up in the past. The past is not ‘now’, any more than the future is.

Like dandelion fluff, the past lacks substance, but can be a little distracting. :-)

Like dandelion fluff, the past lacks substance, but can be a little distracting. 🙂

I sip my coffee. Listen to bird song. Smile at the wildflowers blooming beyond the window. Breathe the cool morning. I notice cold toes and fingers. I notice cold coffee. I notice slouching and sit taller, straighter, more comfortably. There is time for now. Failing to take that time generally results in feeling overwhelmed, rushed, less prepared, more aggravated – and definitely less willing to ‘stay the course’ when there is work to be done. 🙂  [Your results may vary.]

Not so very wild - still flowers. :-)

Not so very wild – still flowers. 🙂

This morning I feel a bit like a cat on a leash. Have you ever tried it? Putting a cat – a grown cat – on a leash? One that’s never been leash trained, specifically? Oh, the hilarity! Yep – and that’s me, this morning, a human ‘cat on a leash’ – and that leash is adulthood. lol Hell, I’m sitting here with a mostly empty cup of very cold coffee, still in sleepwear, barefooted, hair unbrushed, knowing damned well I have things to do today! My mind veers away from all of it – even the artistic inspiration – although I don’t feel down, or upset, or in any sort of distress or ill-health, or tired. But… There’s no one here but me to put that damned leash on, and get me to go on with the day. I’ll have to take care of that, myself. (I don’t want to!)

IMAG6952

… And listen deeply, even to your own heart.

With a last swallow of cold coffee, I pull myself out of the chronic slouch that routinely plagues my already messed up back, again. I take some deep breaths of cool morning air, and let the past fall away – and the future too. It’s not even 8 am, the day barely begun, and there’s no reason to be so hard on myself while I wake and start the day. Seriously? ‘Now’ is a nice moment, today [any day], worthy of time and attention. Worthy of embracing without rushing. Worthy of presence.  ‘Now’ needn’t compete with that very complete ‘to do’ list at all, its time is not now, as it is. I allow myself the power of my choices, and commit to simply being for some little while – no really, put down that god damned list [and even the thought of it] for a few more minutes! – and enjoy these precious moments of stillness and simple beauty. There’s time to be quite productive and busy a bit later, I promise myself. Hours yet to come.

It's not just okay to take time for 'now' - there is real value in this moment.

It’s not just okay to take time for ‘now’ – there is real value in this moment; overlooking it is a major source of stress.

Today is a good day to take the time. Today is a good day to choose. Today is a good day for being and for becoming – and for recognizing our journey doesn’t always take the path we’ve planned. Today is a good day to acknowledge that I am the cat, the leash, and the person holding the leash – and I am all those things now. 🙂

I’m human. Have you met me? Maybe not…but you’re probably human, too, if you are reading this (or I am seriously behind the times on animal science, or the arrival of alien neighbors from the stars). Doubt is part of this human experience. Uncertainty, too, probably more so than certainty. Too often I find my fears or insecurity are calling my shots, instead of making careful, thoughtful choices. It’s very human, and I am pretty sure that when emotion and reason step out for an evening together, emotion is leading the way most of the time…that’s my own experience, anyway. Reason whispers, emotion shouts.

Tonight I am relaxing, having a cup of chamomile tea, and considering things as evening becomes night. I spent a couple lovely hours with my traveling partner. An evening of connected time, hanging out, and enjoying conversation would generally find me feeling something more like… euphoric. Tonight…something different. No reason I can specifically point to…I find I am exploring mixed feelings.

What does the expression ‘mixed feelings’ really mean, anyway? I take it to mean that I have an assortment of emotions going on at once that may not seem a pleasant mix, or easily understood. I most often use an expression like ‘mixed feelings’ specifically when some portion of the feelings are very much enjoyed, desired, or found to be pleasurable, but some other portion contrasts those, rending the experience more complicated by having to sort pleasant from less pleasant, or figure out quite what it is I do feel…and maybe ‘in response to what?’ becomes a question worth answering. For now, I am simply sipping tea, considering things, and exploring mixed feelings.

Love.

Love.

A phone call interrupts my reverie; my traveling partner letting me know he arrived home safely. I am still smiling, although the phone call was a short one. It matters to me that the time we share is of good quality, meaningful, valued…well…obviously, right? (Or is that so obvious?) I see, too, the text he sent shortly before, thanking me for the lovely evening. My fingers linger on the lovely locket I wear every day since he gave it to me. Mixed feelings? Well, sure – it’s a very human thing, but making assumptions about what feelings exist in that mix without asking would be both rude, and rather foolish. I’ve lived a number of decades rich in experiences and although I have some challenges, I am experienced and may even have some small measure of insight, now and then. However childlike I may sometimes seem I’m no child, and I experience an extraordinary and subtle range and variety of powerful emotions. Worthy, beautiful, amazing emotions. Sometimes…they get mixed up. Sometimes the mix up is complicated by my disinhibiting brain injury; my emotions are generally just right out there, obvious and sometimes rather unfortunately seemingly unstoppable. “Mixed feelings” are damned awkward sometimes…I continue to practice a variety of practices that build emotional resilience; the hope is that I will learn to ‘bounce back’ with sufficient speed to counter the lack of inhibition more significantly. I’m making progress. Incremental change over time is a thing.

So, sure, mixed emotions tonight, but I don’t run from my feelings these days. I am polite and considerate about something as powerful as emotion; I save what I can to consider later (since I’m not sure what’s up with me), and simply enjoy my evening with my partner. Totally worth it. We had a great time, and feelings are no more real than we make them; investing too heavily in emotions at the expense of reason is generally a poor choice. I try to keep my ‘observer’ in the driver’s seat, let reason ride shotgun and do the navigating – but the map is not the journey, and my heart sometimes insists on the scenic route, or some crazy detour. Emotions are worthy of my consideration, and they’re part of the experience. I wouldn’t cut off my hands because I can’t play piano without learning how – why would I seek to cut off my emotions simply because I have not learned all I can about their worth, how to make best use of them, what they do or don’t mean…? That doesn’t make sense. What makes sense, to me, for now, is to explore my mixed feelings and understand them in context, maybe look at them from some other perspective, and to simply breathe and be and let them sort themselves out their own way. It’s okay to feel – it’s part of the experience. Isn’t that enough?

…And I’m still smiling. That’s definitely enough.

 

I remember a younger me, angry beyond the point of explaining it, beyond any reason (although, I felt at the time with very good cause). I remember the ferocity, the righteous rage, the convenient slogans, the certainty of Aristotelian logic, the convenient disregard for any experience but my own ever-so-limited experiences. I remember the sting of frustration, the mockery of cultural enemies, the chronic anger of not ‘being heard’ – my lack of awareness that I, myself, was also not listening. At that point in my life, I was unaware of my TBI, and already struggling with PTSD from living a life of emotional and physical violence, deeply aware of a sense of being broken, damaged, different…struggling to communicate, to be  heard, to be understood. I was easily led, but had no sense of it; I considered myself a ‘free thinker’ and ‘my own woman’. Sometimes, perhaps, I even was.

Most of the time, someone was ‘managing’ me. I didn’t understand things that way at the time. When I finally ‘got it’, it was both incredibly freeing, and incredibly heart-breaking.  My parents, grandparents, the Army, a spouse, a lover, a partner, an organization with an agenda, an employer… Everyone who had their shot invested time and effort in convincing me theirs was the right and true truth, the way, the only obvious conclusion, the needful thing, the most righteous of right, the most just of the just. Generally all lies, or as nearly all lies as matters; people with an agenda, in my experience, are rarely about truth.

A difficult night; conversations with my self.

A difficult night; conversations with my self.

I slept badly last night, and my dreams were populated with different iterations of a woman I once was, angrily trying to ‘talk sense’ to the woman I am now, the woman I am becoming – a woman who finds that people matter most, and that relationships of all sorts are the thing most worth investing in. A woman who understands there is no ‘justification’ for warfare – these days all that violence and destruction seems a childish tantrum on a very grand scale, and clearly ineffective, unless the purpose is simply the destruction, itself. I don’t understand how any one of us can take the view that our hurts justify killing someone else. There’s a lot of it in the news. I try not to read it, but it isn’t possible to reflect on the world and not see it going on.

I don’t think I’m exaggerating. I read a story in which a man who was upset over getting divorced killed the woman who had been his wife. Killed her. For not wanting to spend more of her life with him. Her life. I seriously doubt anyone can offer a rational justification for that act.  It’s actually so commonplace I didn’t link it; a Google search will turn up hundreds of such articles. Of course, there’s more, and some of it is on a grand scale indeed. I mean… Gaza? Seriously? Why is an imaginary line on the planet an acceptable justification for killing? For genocide? How is it ever acceptable to deploy troops from one country to another to use violence to enforce an ideology not freely chosen by the people being attacked? It’s all very odd that we allow it to go on, that we do it, ourselves. We regularly attempt to force others to our point of view, and regularly fight for our own – or succumb to another.

I don’t usually write in a particularly political way, and if this is sounding political to you, you may be missing my point.  My point is, why not just stop killing people? What right does any one human being have to transgress on the life force of another human being, to rob or rape or kill them, or blow up their home, or do them an injury, or take their life or their possessions? What right at all? If no one human being can rationally justify those behaviors, how do we permit it of our governments? It’s bullshit, and honestly – we just need to stop. It’s been said. I’m not first here. (I doubt anyone is really listening – or this nastiness would have already ended.) But…I woke angry with the woman I once was, and found that simply to satisfy myself that the conversation had been concluded, and I have been heard – by myself – it feels necessary to say a few a things with as much clarity as I can to that damaged enraged delusional young woman still storming and screaming that she wants to ‘burn it all down’, who lingers in my past, still hurting, still raging. She had her chance to be heard in my restless dreams…so…for her. For me…

Have any religion you like; don’t force it on me. Live where you like, enjoy the customs of your people; but don’t force them on others, or steal to gain land or territory. Don’t rape, kill, or mutilate other people; do what you will with your own body, call it art, call it tradition – but do not visit it on others, most particularly not in violation of their reasoning consent. Don’t violate the consent of others. At all. Ever. Don’t assume your values and opinions are the one true truth; everyone I’ve ever met has their own thoughts on that subject. Govern yourself.  Help more than you injure. Build more than you destroy. Share when you have more, and be gracious when those who have more share what they’ve got with you. Listen with your whole attention. Recognize the fundamental humanity of every human you interact with – and all the ones far away that you only hear about. Understand that you are but one, and that you are who you choose to be, and you can choose differently if you are unhappy – and I encourage it. Happy is wonderful; you won’t get there at the expense of others. People matter. Their pain matters. Their hearts matter. When you lash out at others and do them damage, injure them, violate their consent, you are not one of ‘the good guys’ regardless what you use to justify your bad acts. Collateral damage is still damage. You can’t heal yourself through harming others, however satisfying vengeance may sound in the abstract. Make your own choices, understand they are yours, and don’t rob others of their opportunities to make choices for themselves. You are not wiser, smarter, stronger, better, or more reliably right than any other one human being – you are human. Only that. Be who you are – no one else can do that as well as you can – but don’t attempt to force others to your way, they are not you. And… one last thing? Don’t be a dick. All those other people in the world? Yeah – they’re people, too, like you.

Today is as good a day for humanity as you choose to make it. Choose wisely.

Today is as good a day for humanity as you choose to make it. Choose wisely.